Alpenliebe Kindness Movement: People’s Insights
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Alpenliebe Kindness Movement
Alpenliebe is the flagship brand of Perfetti Van Melle, a global manufacturer of confectionery. The rich, milky caramel toffee entered the China market 15 years ago, and was the number one confectionary brand in China in terms of volume.
In 2011, Alpenliebe launched a year-long initiative to catalyze a kindness movement and inspire millions of Chinese youth to appreciate, share stories about and engage in everyday acts of kindness.
Importance for Alpenliebe
Alpenliebe realized that while it was still recognized by consumers, it wasn’t known for anything in particular. It was at risk of becoming perceived as irrelevant and outdated, in a market that was awash with brands creatively engaging with consumers.
The Alpenliebe Kindness Movement was the first step in reviving the brand and helping it stand out in a cluttered market.
Research showed that happiness, kindness and human potential are the most important opportunity areas in which brands can bring about positive change – and in China in particular, young people were looking for warmth, reassurance and kindness.
Moreover, urban Chinese youth needed an outlet for the relentless pressures of China’s economic progress. Alpenliebe provided this to them in the form of the kindness movement.
In his book Marketing 3.0, Philip Kotler mentioned the importance of brands creating an emotional relationship with customers in the digital era:
“Marketers should approach customers as whole human beings with mind, hearts, and spirits, because consumers are looking for solutions to their anxieties about making the globalized world a better place.”
“Charitable and kind behavior are not all about giving money. They are more about taking care of others and showing concern for others.”
RenRen as the “town hall” of the movement
China’s equivalent of Facebook, social network RenRen served as the hub of activity for the movement. On a kindness movement RenRen micro site, people shared their personal acts of kindness, uploaded images and videos, and voted on their favorite stories to form part of a Kindness Bible.
71,343 kindness stories were shared on RenRen.
One of the stories shared was accompanied with a positive note:
“It’s a beautiful day, and I can see it.”
Another showed a picture of someone with different packs of Alpenliebe candy.
While the RenRen page has 94,814 fans, the content spread and inspired much more users to participate. A total of 1.4 million people participated, leading to a total of 4.1 million interactions.
Sina Weibo as the “subway” of the movement
Micro blogging site Weibo amplified the reach of the movement, distributing content and sparking an additional 134,000 interactions among its 56,000 fans.
The campaign was instrumental in boosting the size of the community of Weibo, which now stands at 380,000 fans.
Video content to inspire people
To inspire people to perform acts of kindness, Alpenliebe produced 8 web stories on everyday acts of kindness for video sharing site Tudou – such as a passerby helping someone park a car. 29,179 videos were collected from fans of the movement on Tudou.
Alpenliebe also tied up with two TV shows to create several in-depth feature episodes around the kindness movement. These featured the Alpenliebe kindness ambassador – Chinese actress Ma Yili.
Three episodes were produced on the popular TV show ‘Live Entertainment,’ which were broadcast at on 200 TV channels. Another episode was produced on the Chinese talk show “Super Close Distance,” ranked No.2 in its time slot by ratings.
Offline activities to widen reach
Offline events enable Alpenliebe to build the credibility of the movement, make it more meaningful, and empower consumers to become kindness evangelists.
Alpenliebe partnered with 1kg.org to conduct offline events including kindness trips to rural schools. 150 consumer-turned-kindness-evangelists volunteered for the kindness trips to six schools. 2,500 kindness wishes were collected from the children and shared on social media.
Alpenliebe also partnered with World Kindness Movement to launch the Kindness Bible at the World Kindness Day event in Shanghai.
The Kindness Bible collected the most popular stories shared and were distributed during Alpenliebe’s seasonal sales promotion, before the Chinese New Year. 300,000 Kindness Bibles were distributed.
Coverage in national media
The offline events, and endorsement by Ma Yili, were instrumental in driving media coverage and increasing the reach of the social media movement. The events were covered in 330 articles across mainstream & online media channels, including 13 TV reports.
If Alpenliebe were to pay for the equivalent coverage, it would cost them advertising spends of approx. RMB 25.7 million, or $4 million.
Response on social media
The movement helped Alpenliebe led to 4.3 million interactions stories on RenRen, Weibo and Tudou, including 3.2 million shares & comments and generation of 151,000 kindness stories.
At the height of the movement, Alpenliebe had acquired a community of 150,000 people on RenRen and Weibo, which has now grown to 474,000 people.
Through use of social media, video content, offline events and TV media cooperation, the Alpenliebe Kindness Movement attracted 8.7 million unique visitors, received 65.6 million page views and 1.1 billion online impressions.
The emotional connect with kindness, and the widespread reach both online and offline translated into a 16% increase in sales revenue.
The Alpenliebe Kindness Movement entered its second phase in May 2012, with the 365 Days of Kindness campaign on social networks. The campaign has been received positively by people, with 238,000 interactions on Weibo itself.
Trend: crowdsourcing kindness and cheer
In our past reports, we have talked about how brands like chocolatier Anthon Berg and Coca Cola are crowdsourcing generosity and happiness, by inspiring consumers to perform random acts of kindness. The brands benefited from this by an increase in brand equity and reach, and by exciting customers around their products.
Henry Mason, head of research and analytics at independent firm Trendwatching, attributes the opportunity for these “random acts of kindness” to social media, for opening channels of communications between brands and consumers.
“For consumers long used to (and annoyed by) distant, inflexible and self-serving corporations, any acts of kindness by brands will be gratefully received. For brands, increasingly open communications both with and between consumers (especially online), means that it’s never been easier to surprise and delight audiences with [random acts of kindness]: whether sending gifts, responding to publicly expressed moods or just showing that they care”.
Alpenliebe’s success with its Kindness Movement in China shows that kindness is an attribute that is in demand globally, and one that can lead to an increase in sales.
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